Tanzania’s opposition party disowns, dismisses its 19 ‘members of parliament’

Chadema's 19 women MPs in a group photo with House Speaker Job Ndugai and Parliament Clerk Stephen Kagaigai

THE main opposition party in Tanzania, CHADEMA, has dismissed its 19 members recently sworn-in as members of parliament (special seats), citing insubordination and contempt of the party.

CHADEMA chairman, Freeman Mbowe, announced his party’s central committee’s decision during a press conference at Bahari Beach Hotel in Dar es Salaam tonight, hours after the National Electoral Commission had published the MPs in the government gazette. The CHADEMA central committee held its meeting for over 10 hours today 27th November 2020 to decide the fate of its erring members.

The MPs in question are Halima Mdee, Grace Tendega, Hawa Mwaifunga, Jesca Kishoa, Conchesta Rwamlaza, Agnesta Lambert, Cecilia Paresso, Naghenjwa Kaboyoka, Felista Njau, Sofia Mwakagenda, Esther Bulaya, Esther Matiko, Salome Makamba, Anatropia Theonest, Nusrat Hanje, Stella Fiyao, Tunza Malapo, Asia and Kunti Yusuf.

There is a huge controversy over how the MPs were appointed and sworn-in on 24th November 2020. The party says it did not appoint them, in the first place. But the electoral commission director, William Mahela, said his office received the party’s confirmation of the MPs appointment from the CHADEMA secretary-general on 19th November 2020.

According to Mbowe, the party is disowning the MPs because they were illegally obtained and sworn-in, in breach of the country’s constitution and laws as well as their party’s constitution and regulations.

The 19 MPs comprise the most influential women leaders in Chadema, the women’s wing top leaders.

The opposition is still protesting the 2020 general election, saying it was abortive, and that its members should not be part of the parliament that was obtained through the massively rigged election.